Second, Google has to be less haphazard when it comes to making changes. Recently, Google upgraded my Google Apps account. I was sent a very confusing email about how the users in my organization would be transitioned automatically to the new Google Apps. There were numerous links in there about how this would affect my users. Now, I probably need to explain that I have this Google Apps account for my personal domain. I am the only user currently in this domain. To make a very long story short, half of the Google apps that I use transitioned, the other half I had to create a separate Gmail account for so I could continue to use them. The worst part for me is that I use Blogger.com as my blog service. Now, I have to use a special account to manage my blog, which is separate from my Google Apps email. I am an IT Manager and I can barely navigate the instructions sent out by Google. I can’t imagine what a nightmare this would have been if I had 100 end users to deal with through a transition like this.
I hate to say this, but I believe Microsoft is heading in the right direction when it comes to cloud and offline file access. Google Apps are cloud only. Granted, up-time for most ISPs has gotten better, however, the reality is that all ISPs have outages. Also, as connected as our world has become, there are still places you can go where the internet isn’t accessible. It is in these cases where I question whether companies want all productivity to halt when the internet is inaccessible. To their credit, Google will allow you to download your documents in several formats, but I believe it would be in their best interest to allow you to download a portable app to go with it.
All this being said, Google Apps are a great innovation. I believe they are useful and forward thinking. However, being in the trenches as long as I have been, I believe I have a pretty good idea what small business users will embrace. Google you’re getting there, in my opinion, but I believe that you have some work to do to build customer service, trust, and a product that the average office worker will embrace.